Touch down: Bangkok. 3am, humid, sweaty, loud, overcast and full of tall buildings. As well as a kind taxi driver named Peter who was waiting with our name on a sign to whisk us into the city to the River condominiums, a place I booked off VRBO on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river next door to the Peninsula Hotel. He pulled into the driveway and we piled out ino the gleaming lobby of this grand highrise with fountains and bamboo and marble floors, and attendants who even at 4am came running, sliding on their socks, to open the door, greet us and take our bags to the elevator. I'm liking it already.
Up we go to the 21st floor and into our pad for the week. We pull open the curtains, get the AC running, and see all of Bangkok below us, lit up and brights. The river flows and small boats are going up and down its center even in the middle of the morning. The kids want to know about jet lag. Do we have it yet? Are we going to get it? Should we sleep, should we stay up? We opt for staying up. By now it's after four and it seems silly to sleep. Would throw us off our game entirely. So we unpack, explore our rooms, hop on rock-hard beds (a staple in Asia we will find), marvel at the faucets in the sleek bathrooms, and decide to find the swimming pool.
The kids and I head back down the elevator. It's dusky, still warm and weirdly still, and we creep out on floor five to take a swim. What we find is unbelieveable. We're so excited we can hardly stand it. There is a series of 4 pools, all rectangular and tiled with iridescent grey and silver tiles, stretching about 400 feet from where we stand through these gardens with papaya, banana and palm trees. The fruit is hanging on them for the picking. We crawl quietly into the first one, knowing that probably we shouldn't be swimming at 5. Above us loom these enormous towers of metallic, mirrored blue. We're in this oasis of water surrounded by highrises. The water is the perfect temperature, just right for the morning. We decide to keep walking through the gardens--Reddy finds a badminton court where he can bounce the basketball he's been carrying with him since LA. Then the gym, and then another pool that absolutely floors us.
It's a single pool that is surrounded by wooden decks that look like swimming platforms on a lake. It stretches from one end of the complex to the other, where there's nothing but an edge dropping off into the lake. Or so it seems from where we stand 500 feet away. We get in and crawl through the water as the sky is starting to lighten and there's a bit more activity on the river. We swim to the end, and there's a glass wall separating the pool from the river below. I lie on my back, feel jet lag start to wash over me, but have such a feeling of utter bliss lying in a body of water in Bangkok with my happy kids and the sky lightening above me, inviting us to come out and explore her city.